amy-pascal3.jpgI’ve received gobs of emails angry at Amy Pascal for supposedly inviting overseas screenwriters to submit their work to Sony Studios as scabs. A newspaper article confirms the Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair made statements to that effect — but she never used the “s” word — during a just concluded 5-day trip by Hollywood folk to Israel sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and the Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership. But the paper also confirms that she was JOKING. (I agree that’s not a very good joke, especially during the WGA strike, but a joke nonetheless. And, if anything, Amy is known around Hollywood as very writer-friendly.) So, before the rumor mill works overtime, here in complete context is what the Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote about Pascal’s remarks:

“Pascal was the most forthright and direct of all the members of the delegation and reminded everyone of Hollywood’s main guiding principle. ‘We do everything we believe will make money,’ she said. ‘We are constantly looking for good artists who are different, who have a special voice. They are the people who make a lot of money.’ As befits someone who heads one of the big studios, she stressed the word ‘lots.’ At Sony they are always looking for people with talent, she said, adding, ‘Not only because of the strike. Whoever writes, I will be happy to accept his [business] card.’

“Although the audience laughed in response, Pascal was later asked if she had been serious. Her answer was disappointing – she had been joking. This response may not have gladdened the local screenwriters, but at least it breathed a little life into the somewhat drowsy event. Pascal then proceeded to present the position of the studios’ heads concerning the screenwriters’ strike, in the clearest terms (‘The writers want more money, and we don’t want to give it to them’), expressed her lack of enthusiasm for the subject (‘Do we have to talk about this?’), and spurred a reaction from [City of Angels and Casper director Brad] Silberling, who hastened to present the striking screenwriters’ position.”

So there you have it. Besides Pascal and Silberling, the Hollywood folk who played tourist as well as spoke to Israeli actors, directors, writers and producers at a confab were producer Donald De Line, David Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth); producer Nina Jacobson; and William Morris agents George Freeman and David Lonner, who was the showbiz delegation’s organizer.